NEW YORK – With the fall season on the way and new students arriving on campus, the Columbia women's tennis team has four reasons to be excited about the start of their Ivy League Championship title defense: their top-notch incoming first-year players. Head coach Ilene Weintraub has announced the addition of Vivian Cheng, Tina Jiang, Alice Song and Laura Wiley to the roster in the quest for another trophy.
“With many of our starters returning from our championship-winning team last year and the addition of our four talented newcomers, we will have one goal and one goal only,” said Weintraub. “And that is to win the Ivy League outright this year. “
“We have great senior leadership, depth and raw talent that we are looking forward to developing throughout the season. We also have a tremendously competitive schedule including Duke, South Carolina, Memphis, Kansas State, UNLV, Maryland and Georgia State. One big win over any of these teams will keep our ranking low and help us reach our goal of earning an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.”
Hailing from Syosset, N.Y., Cheng was a two-year letterwinner at Syosset High School. As a freshman, Cheng went undefeated at the No. 2 position. She returned to the court without skipping a beat during her senior year, becoming the New York State Champion in singles. In each of her years playing, Syosset High School won both the Nassau County Championships and Long Island Championships. A four-year honor roll student, Cheng was also an AP Scholar and member of the National Honor Society.
A former state singles champion, Jiang will join the Lions this fall from nearby Bridgewater, N.J. Jiang played two years of tennis for the Knights of Gill St. Bernard’s High School in Gladstone, N.J. Playing at the top singles flight, she placed first in Somerset County in 2009 and 2010 and became the New Jersey State Champion in 2010.
Song joins Columbia for the 2013-14 season from Matthews, N.C., where she played tennis at Weddington High School. As captain her senior year, Song was named All-Southern Carolina Conference Player of the Year and the women’s tennis Most Valuable Player at Weddington. Also on point in the classroom, Song was a Member of the National Honor Society.
A Fort Lauderdale, Fla. native, Wiley will be making the transition to Columbia from Ivy League foe Brown University. At Brown, she played positions 3-6 and broke the record for number of matches won by a freshman. Wiley also led the team in number of matches won, sporting a 17-match win streak to close out the season while going 6-1 in Ivy League action. In high school, Wiley played at the No. 1 position all four years at Cardinal Gibbons. A four-time captain and MVP, Wiley was a first team All-County selection and went undefeated until districts throughout the 2007-11 seasons.